‘Black Widow’ Will Officially ‘Hand The Baton’ From Scarlett Johansson To Florence Pugh

Black Widow was one of the many (many, many, many) blockbusters affected by the COVID-19 pandemic; the Cate Shortland-directed superhero movie’s release date was pushed back from May to November 2020, meaning we have to wait that much longer to discover the true identity of Taskmaster. And for Florence Pugh to officially join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Black Widow is being billed as a showcase for Scarlett Johansson, which is technically true, but according to Shortland, it’s really Pugh’s movie, as we predicted months ago.

“[Kevin Feige] realized that the audience would expect an origin story so, of course, we went in the opposite direction,” she told Empire. “And we didn’t know how great Florence Pugh would be. We knew she would be great, but we didn’t know how great. Scarlett is so gracious, like, ‘Oh, I’m handing her the baton.’ So it’s going to propel another female storyline.” Robert Downey, Jr. and Chris Evans have already departed the MCU — now it’s supposedly ScarJo’s turn, and like Anthony Mackie’s Falcon becoming the new Captain America, Natasha Romanoff has an exciting replacement in Yelena Belova.

Shortland also discussed why Black Widow has a “fitting ending” for Johansson:

“In Endgame, the fans were upset that Natasha did not have a funeral. Whereas Scarlett, when I spoke to her about it, said Natasha wouldn’t have wanted a funeral. She’s too private, and anyway, people don’t really know who she is. So what we did in this film was allow the ending to be the grief the individuals felt, rather than a big public outpouring. I think that’s a fitting ending for her.”

Black Widow (hopefully) comes out on November 6.